Kazuo Kamimura was a Japanese mangaka, best known for his 1972-73 collaboration with Kazuo Koike on the action manga 'Lady Snowblood' ('Shurayuki-hime').
Kamimura was born in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan in 1940. He studied design at the Musashino Art University and graduated there in 1964. Kamimura worked part-time as an illustrator at the advertising company Senkosya, where he got in touch with Mr. Yu Aku, a songwriter who wrote the script to his first comic strip, 'Kawaiko Sayurichan No Daraku' ('カワイコ小百合ちゃんの堕落', 1967), in the first issue of Gekkan Town. Next he illustrated Yu Aku's script for 'Parada' ('パラダ', 1968), Kazuo Oike's 'Dosei jidai' ('同棲時代', 'Let Us Live Together', 1972) and 'Syurayukihime' and Hideo Okazaki's 'Hanakotoba' ('花言葉' , 1971) and 'Shinano-gawa' ('しなの川', 1973-1974). His work found publishment in magazines like Young Weekly Playboy, Weekly Manga Action and Big Comic.
Folles Passions (Kyōjin Kankei - 狂人関係, 1973-1974)
His most famous work remains 'Shurayuki-hime' ('修羅雪姫', Lady Snowblood, 1972-1973). This violent manga tells the tale of a female assassin whose mother was raped and father was murdered. She seeks revenge and goes on a long journey to track down each and every bandit responsible for these crimes. The manga was serialized in Weekly Playboy. One year later it was adapted into a live-action film 'Shurayuki-hime' ('修羅雪姫', 'Lady Snowblood', 1973) by Toshiya Fujita. The film quickly became a cult classic and spawned a sequel, 'Shurayukihime - Urami renka' ('修羅雪姫 怨み恋歌 ', 'Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance', 1974), also directed by Toshiya Fujita. In 2001 the manga inspired another live-action film, 'Shurayuki-hime' ('修羅雪姫', 'The Princess Blade', 2001), but the plot was changed into a more post-apocalyptic dystopian story.
La Plaine du Kantō (Kantō heiya - 関東平野, 1976)
Quentin Tarantino used the theme song from 'Lady Snowblood' (1973) as an atmospheric piece for his epic martial arts film 'Kill Bill' (2003-2004), which shared a similar plotline. This brought 'Lady Snowblood' under worldwide attention and motivated the first English translation of the manga in 2005-2006 by Dark Horse. Translations of his other works soon followed. In 2009 Ed Brubaker, Marko Djurdjevic and Clay Mann created the character Lady Bullseye in Marvel's 'Daredevil' franchise as a tribute to Lady Snowblood.
In 1974 Kamimura voiced the character Crosby in the anime film 'Jack to Mame no Ki' (ジャックと豆の木, 'Jack and the Beanstalk', 1974). His promising career was unfortunately cut short when he got sick with a pharynx tumor. He died at the young age of 45 on 11 January 1986. Two of Kamimura's assistants were Hitoshi Iwaaki and Jiro Taniguchi.